Nov 3, 2018

JSON Web Token

JSON Web Token (JWT) is a JSON-based open standard (RFC 7519) for passing claims between parties in web application environment. The tokens are designed to be compact, URL-safe and usable especially in web browser single sign-on (SSO) context. JWT claims can be typically used to pass identity of authenticated users between an identity provider and a service provider, or any other type of claims as required by business processes. The tokens can also be authenticated and encrypted.

JWT relies on other JSON-based standards: JWS (JSON Web Signature) RFC 7515 and JWE (JSON Web Encryption) RFC 7516.

There are some scenarios where JSON Web Tokens are useful:

  • Authentication: This is the typical scenario for using JWT, once the user is logged in, each subsequent request will include the JWT, allowing the user to access routes, services, and resources that are permitted with that token. Single Sign On is a feature that widely uses JWT nowadays, because of its small overhead and its ability to be easily used among systems of different domains.
  • Information Exchange: JSON Web Tokens are a good way of securely transmitting information between parties, because as they can be signed, for example using public/private key pairs, you can be sure that the senders are who they say they are. Additionally, as the signature is calculated using the header and the payload, you can also verify that the content hasn't changed.